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Improving How Business Is Taught

December 13, 2019
 
 

Ithaka S+R, a research and consulting service, released a report yesterday detailing undergraduate teaching practices in business. Business is the most popular undergraduate major in the United States. The report is the result of qualitative data collection by teams at 14 college libraries, totaling 158 anonymized interviews.

The research found that instructors struggled with finding case studies, the building blocks of the business curriculum, that were appropriate for their students and could fit into a single lecture. Harvard Business School, Ivey Business School and McGraw-Hill were the most often cited providers of case studies, and instructors reported some concerns over the cost of these materials to their students.

The report also concluded that both instructors and students struggle with finding, accessing and navigating financial and industry data. And it found confusion over when basic research skills should be taught to students. Those teaching upper-level courses expressed frustration that students had not been taught research skills, and those teaching intro courses said those courses were not the proper setting to learn those skills.

While instructors reported using educational technology, they expressed reservations over how these technologies collect student data.

The report had many recommendations for libraries, faculty, provosts, centers for teaching and learning, and associations.

Authors recommended that libraries assist instructors in finding low-cost resources and curate an archive of internet videos that have been helpful in class.

Faculty and academic leadership should develop student data collection and sharing guidelines, the report advised. Business school leadership should develop networks of businesses willing to share data for instructional purposes and make data literacy a core educational requirement. Societies and associations should explore opportunities to incentivize fieldwide or industrywide resource sharing.

The full methodology and more recommendations can be found here.

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